There is more to do in Yangon, the capital of Myanmar, than visiting Shwedagon Pagoda for sunset, touring the colonial area, stopping at the Sule and Botataung Pagodas, exploring the National Museum, and shopping at Scott’s Market, also known as Bogyoke Market. These sites are typical tourist fare, and you don’t want to miss any of them, but there’s so much more. Here are a few suggestions for unique places to visit in Yangon Myanmar to spice up your trip and help you forget about the traffic!
Expand your Must-Visit Places in Yangon Myanmar
Spend A Day with Yangon Locals
Meet local stars and get an intimate look at life beyond Myanmar’s tourist sites. Making memorable connections with your hosts, you learn about their outstanding achievements, daily struggles, and pleasures. Here are some examples of friends of ours and places to visit in Yangon Myanmar who can help you experience the “real” Myanmar.
- Spend time with a local entrepreneur making truly organic jaggery, a sweet digestive candy made of palm sap.
- Talk with a famous English teacher, who inspired and shared his knowledge with thousands of students and survived five years of prison during the Ne Win years.
- Admire the craftsmanship of a shoemaker, known as the only provider of reliable and comfortable shoes for the disabled.
- Visit with the founder of the Mandalay Library and winner of the Citizen of Burma Award, who earned his livelihood selling grilled fish but believed that education is the key to a solid life and books are a source of mental strength.
Play Traditional Chinlone and Meet the Caneball Players of Myanmar
Chinlone, also known as “caneball,” is over 1500 years old and was once played by the Kings of Burma. Today chinlone is the national sport of Myanmar. Similar to hacky-sack, the goal of chinlone is to keep the ball from hitting the ground while passing it to other players without using hands. You can observe the game in action, meet a chinlone master and, if you can keep up, play with the locals.
Visit the Gitameit Music Center
Begun in 2003, this non-profit community center and music school in downtown Yangon is “devoted to music teaching and nurturing, performing, offering exchange possibilities for Burmese students to study abroad and inviting international artists to perform and teach in Yangon.” Learning about local music can be a wonderful way to expand your horizons while visiting Yangon.
Take a Bando Lesson and Learn the Burmese Philosophy of Self Defense
Bando is a martial art that originated in Myanmar and is based on the theory that “defense is the best offense.” A fighter studies his or her opponent and evaluates the actions. Only after understanding how the opponent acts will the fighter choose a counter strategy. The offensive forms are based on animal movements, such as that of a boar, python, or tiger as well as a black panther, whose moves combine those of the other animals. Taking a self defense class can be a unique diversion in Yangon.
Have Your Palm Read at Sule Pagoda
Locals say you should never make a serious decision without consulting either a palm reader or a numerologist. Believe it or not, the government decision to move the capital from Yangon to Naypyidaw was based on a palm reader’s advice! So, with your birth date, day of the week and time, and your questions to be answered, head off to a palmist at Sule Pagoda.
Make sure you take the time to explore some of the wonderfully unique places to visit in Yangon Myanmar – outside of the standard tourist destinations. Looking for a travel agency in Yangon Myanmar? Myths and Mountains offers several Myanmar trips that can give you the ‘insider’ experience of a lifetime.